Spotlight on: Time management at the end of the semester

CALLOUT_TooManyBooksBy Liz Roepke, Peer Research Advisor

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays: it means I get to go home to spend time with my family, eat delicious food, and forget about my school work for a couple precious days. And for a little while, I can pretend I’m on winter break.

But then I get back to school, and reality sets in. Exams. Class projects and term papers are due. Then even more exams. Where did all my time go?! I thought I had another week to work on that paper! I thought there were a couple more lectures before our test! Ahhh!!

Every year, I tell myself I won’t let myself be taken by surprise when the last day of classes comes around and I have to seriously start preparing for my final exams and papers. Now you might be asking yourself: “But how do I do that? I have so many projects and exams I don’t even know where to start!” Here are a few ideas:

  • Write out a list of everything you have to do before the end of the semester, when it’s due, and how long it will take you to complete it. While planning for exams, estimate how long it will take you to study effectively for that class. This may vary a lot depending on how comfortable you are with the material!
  • Then, organize this list by due date so you can see where your main workload will be. If you work or volunteer, include your shifts in this list because they’re obligations too.
  • For every day between now and the last day of finals week, decide which assignments you’ll work on and for how long you will work on each. Make sure you have enough time to do it all, but don’t overschedule yourself! Don’t plan on spending 20 hours every day writing or studying, because that’s just not practical.
  • Make plans to study with a classmate. Decide up front what you want you each want to work on and hold yourselves to it! If you know you can’t focus while studying in the Cellar, don’t plan on meeting there.
  • Find multiple study spots so that you have choices when you just can’t sit still any longer and need a change of scenery. Try the upper floors of Collins Library, Weyerhauser Hall, or Commencement Hall if you haven’t already explored those spaces.
  • Take a mental break by going to the gym, on a run, for a swim or a walk – anything to get your mind off your studies and away from a laptop screen for a bit.
  • Call your parents or friends from home or your peer advisor to get some words of encouragement. You’ve got people rooting for you, and no matter how bleak your outlook is there’s always someone who’s proud of you for simply trying your best! If you think you actually want to talk to someone professional about your stress level, go to CHWS – they hold drop-in hours from 1-2:30 every weekday if you can’t get an appointment quickly.
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